In the other room, my husband pores over the pieces of his soon-to-be masterpiece: a pod-racing scene from Star Wars: Episode I – Phantom Menace. That’s right. Not only do I have to deal with a Phantom Menace apologist, but I’m also quarantined with a puzzler—as in, one who does jigsaw puzzles. The worst kind of puzzles.
Beyond the activity itself being utterly mindless and dull, the jigsaw puzzle is, to put it simply, a rude house guest. It demands all of the little surface space we have while being so damn precious about its own existence. Don’t you dare spill your fourth glass of wine near the puzzle! Those stupid little cardboard cut-outs can’t cope with a drop of moisture or they’ll ruin their shape. And call 911—a piece is missing! Just when you get into the flow of reading a real book after not being able to concentrate for months, you’re ordered to the frontlines to search for the missing soldier. (It’s always under the couch.) And when the project is complete—ugh—you must join the obligatory parade to congratulate the puzzler on accomplishing something that, when you think about it, was already complete, then cut into pieces solely for their entertainment.
I don’t care if the puzzle is four pieces or 40,000. I will never be impressed that you, an adult, completed a puzzle. “It took me 63 hours!” The puzzler says, as if they just stormed the beaches of Normandy. The thing is, if you spend enough time with it, you will complete the puzzle. I’m sure if you placed a monkey in front of a 700-piecer and gave them enough time, they’d be able to do it too.
And yet, I have no one to sympathize with me. Because in the last few months, everyone has become a puzzler. (People do seem to feel bad in regard to the Phantom Menace thing, thankfully.)